Road Trip!
30 Jan 2007

Cam and I are heading out on a road trip to eastern British Columbia tomorrow morning to try out skiing some different northwest slopes... those of Fernie, BC. It's nine hours in the car, but then again, it's about 9 hours from Seattle whether you fly or drive, and the drive is considerably cheaper (not to mention easier on the CO2). We'll certainly be stopping along the way to pick up some traditional road-side food... stuff I'd typically never eat but somehow crave when faced with many hours in the car. To add to that, I also baked a few treats to take along, just in case. First, the ultimate travel food, home-made granola bars. Cam has been craving the ones we got in London from Otto Lenghi, all packed full of honey, cashews and cranberries. I decided to attempt my own, based on Heidi's recent recipe in February's Food & Wine. My version used malt syrup instead of the brown rice syrup, which gave the whole mixture a molasses like sweetness that worked well with the cashews and pecans (instead of walnuts) and some salted sesame seeds. I also tossed in some dried orange sections. Mine didn't turn out nearly as bar-like as I'd like... more like little clumps of super-yummy granola... but then again, Cam reminded me, the ones from Otto Lenghi completely disintegrated. They may not be the easiest things to eat in the car, but I'm sure we'll enjoy them all the same.

Next, I made bread pudding. Now, you are probably thinking, bread pudding is not exactly good food for the car. Most bread pudding you see is super-moist goop covered with more super sweet and sometimes liquory goop. But, one of my favorite bread puddings was a drier-sort. Individual-sized squares with just the edge of a crust, soft and creamy on the side and packed with apricots or peaches. And best of all, easy to eat on the go.
I found this treat at Pasta & Co many years ago, but it's been forever since they've had any in stock. After seeing this post on restaurant-style bread pudding on Bakingsheet, I was inspired to make some to bring along on our trip. I decided on a variation of the Honey Lemon Bread Pudding recipe in Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook, using left over blood oranges and left over cinnamon swirl bread, baked in miniature loaf pans and then sliced after cooling. And with that, we'll be off. No more posts from me this week, so have a great weekend everyone!
For the granola bar recipe, just see Heidi's and play with what fruits, nuts and sugars you use.
Honey Orange Bread Pudding (adapted from the Macrina Bakery Cookbook p 93) makes 2 mini-loaves 1 cup milk 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup honey 1 t vanilla 1 egg yolk 1 egg 4 cups cubed day-old bread 1 to 2 blood oranges (or other orange type), peeled, seeded and cut into small chunks 1 T orange zest 3 T butter Preheat oven to 325F. Line two mini-loaf pans with parchment. Whisk the milk, cream, honey, vanilla, eggs until well blended. Mix the bread cubes, oranges, orange zest in a large bowl. Drizzle with butter and mix well. Then, pour the milk mixture over the top and stir well. Cover and let sit for about 15 minutes.
Spoon the mixture into the parchment lined pans. Smash down the mixture as you fill them to remove any air pockets. Place the pans into a casserole dish or roasting pan filled a little with water. Cover the whole thing with foil, and bake on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for an hour and 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15 to 25 minutes to brown the top.
Let the pudding rest for about 5 minutes, and then pull up on the parchment to remove the pudding from the loaf pan. Let cool on a wire rack for a least 15 minutes before slicing.

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